Herr Werther, a new magistrate to the Grand Duchy of Walheim who is a violinist and poet, seems to have fate on his side as he meets and pursues a beautiful local woman, Charlotte. But as ... See full summary »
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A wanted gangster is both king and prisoner of the Casbah. He is protected from arrest by his friends, but is torn by his desire for freedom outside. A visiting Parisian beauty may just tempt his fate.
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This is the French "only yesterday" (Stahl);the title tells the whole story:it's a melodrama which follows all the rules of the game.Sandwiched,in Ophuls's filmography, between "Werther" ,a classic which he did not make very interesting,and "De Mayerling à Sarajevo" ,which dealt with the Hapsburg's tragedy,"sans lendemain" ,which is despised by the French critics does not deserve such a fate:although it's not on a par with "Lola Montès " ,"Madame de ..." or "le plaisir" ,it's worth watching.
Edwige Feuillère ,after "sans lendemain" ,would be countess Sophie Chotek,Francis-Ferdinand von Habsburg's morganatic wife in "de Mayerling à Sarajevo' the following year,actually a propaganda movie. Here she's a jaded woman ,abandoned by a shady husband with a lot of debts.She's got a son to bring up,so she works as a topless dancer in the nightclub "la sirene" .Enter a handsome man,her former love,whom she could not marry because she was already another man's wife.
She's ashamed of herself,of her life ,of her seedy apartment;so she borrows money from some kind of pimp.She knows from the start ,that not only her dream will be short-lived ,but she will also have to pay dearly for it afterwards.These three days are some kind of pilgrimage ,bringing her to places she went when they were young,particularly the ski resort where they met.The white snow will contrast with the darkness Ophuls will use at the end of his movie...
A conclusion which is not unlike that of John Stahl 's "only yesterday" (1933)Woman is sacrified,but anyway,it's a permanent feature in Ophuls' canon from "liebelei " to "Madame de..." .Edwige Feuillère gives a wonderful performance.
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